Performing Or Drilling?


Forms MUST be precise

Applications MUST be open to interpretation


There is a significant difference between performing a Form and drilling one, an idea that surprisingly often rarely occurs to many people.


Although variations may occur through the lineages we still tend to know which Form is which and this is due to a standard in teaching.


We all know for instance that in Siu Lim Tau there are three Fook Sau’s played in the first section, and that this is due to the number 3 being a lucky number and so on.

But when you are not performing the sequence for your fellow practitioners, for your Sifu or for an audience, why not execute four Fook Sau’s, or even five?


The important point here is that you can add on to the form while drilling it, but must not take anything away.

I am of course talking about form patterns here and NOT the system itself.


I say this because Ip Man himself once said:

“Anyone can add on to a system, the secret is to try take something away but still keep it pure”.


We all know that Ip Man refined Wing Chun by taking several elements away, such as the extra (and unnecessary) Gums in sections 7 and 8 of the Dummy, changing parts of Chum Kiu, and even reducing the Siu Lim Tau.

If anyone is not sure about these elements, in 3rd section of Siu Lim Tau, the sequence used to run, Tan, Low Garn, and scooping back up to Tan to a close.

The following sequence moved out to High Garn (same shape as a Tan) before rolling into Huen Sau / Low Palm, but it was Ip Man who thought;

‘If we finish one part with this shape but then begin the next part with the same shape again,

Why not just continue it through?’


Many pieces through the forms were changed, mainly for their convenience and to enable them to better flow.


A good example of adding on in a form would be this;

I once asked Sifu Ip Chun;

“Why did Ip Man only ever take three steps in the 2nd section of Chum Kiu?”



“He did three steps is because that’s all the room he had!”


Simply meaning that when it comes to drilling a form, if you have more room, do more steps, and if you have more time, repeat more.

It is absolutely fine to keep going over a move, time and time again until you believe it to finally feel right.


You do NOT have to start from the beginning and run through the whole form every time just in order to get to the one piece that requires your further attention.

Start from the beginning yes, but when you arrive at the trouble area, stay there until it feels better, and only then continue, to either then or to the next piece that requires your attention.


Do not get used to cutting parts out of forms or there could be a danger of you forgetting to put them back in again later.


Now what will you do with your form today?

Perform or it, or drill it?



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